Cambodia Urged to Do More to Protect Women, Advance Rights

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The government needs to do more to protect migrant workers, ensure that women have access to legal aid, bring cases of violence against women to court and draft an anti-discrimination law, the U.N. Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (Cedaw) said in a new report. The report is an assessment of the fourth and fifth periodic updates Cambodia made to the U.N. committee earlier this month. In that hearing, a delegation led by Women’s Affairs Minister Ing Kantha Phavi presented member-country experts with updates on what the government has done to advance wom­en’s rights in Cambodia, but conceded that challenges remain. …

The committee also called on Cambodia to repeal an article in the Law on Marriage and Family that extends a woman’s marriage by 120 days after the death of, or divorce from, her husband, which the committee said is “a discriminatory provision, as it does not apply to men, and seeks reportedly to assist in the establishment of paternity of children.” In her presentation, Dr. Kantha Phavi told the U.N. panel of experts that there have been no documented cases of women taking up court cases in incidents of violence and abuse—something that the assessment report said must be ad­dressed. The report suggested that a legal aid scheme be established, and that more be done to punish perpetrators of such violence.